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Alcohol tolerance in different ethnic groupsPeople of European descent on average have a high alcohol tolerance compared to Aboriginal Australians, Native Americans and some East Asian groups. This is related to an average higher body mass, but also to the prevalence of high levels of alcohol dehydrogenases in the population. The high alcohol tolerance in Europeans and some other ethnic groups has probably evolved as a consequence of centuries of exposure to alcohol in established agricultural societies. An estimated one third of persons of East Asian and Native American descent have an alcohol flush reaction, a condition where the body cannot break down ingested alcohol completely because it lacks the genetically coded enzyme that performs this function in the bodies of drinkers with "European" tolerance levels. Flushing, or blushing, is associated with the erythema (reddening caused by dilation of capillaries) of the face, neck, and shoulder, after consumption of alcohol.